Thursday, September 17, 2009

NWT - B

NWT-B

This paper is a reply to the major accusations made by Robert H. Countess in his book defaming the Bible translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses: "The Jehovah's Witnesses' New Testament - A Critical Analysis of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures [NWT]," Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1982 (2nd ed. 1987). (I got my copy from Christian Book Distributors [CBD] in October 1994.)

It is noteworthy that this book was originally produced as a doctoral thesis by Mr. Countess in 1966. He then published it in 1982. After 5 years he made a few corrections and published the present (second edition) version in 1987. He says in the preface to this second edition:

"The present edition of The Jehovah's Witnesses' New Testament embodies all of the earlier text except for the correction of typographical errors noted by the author and the readers." - p. vii.

Although he discusses other "mistranslations" of the NWT, his primary objective obviously is to defend the trinity doctrine by attacking those NWT renderings which deny traditional "proofs" used by some trinitarians.

Countess devotes much of his book to denying the scholarship and honesty of those who rendered John 1:1c in the NWT as "and the Word was a god" in opposition to most trinitarian Bibles' renderings of "and the Word was God." Other major areas where he defends "orthodoxy" and does battle with the NWT include his "exposure" of the NWT's (1) "dishonest" use of God's only personal name in the NT and (2) their "hypocritical" use of "god" and "God" throughout the NWT NT.

* * * *

For a refutation of Mr. Countess' attack on the NWT concerning John 1:1 ("a god" versus "God") see the study papers DEF; MARTIN; QUAL; and PRIMER.

* * * *

He also attacks the NWT's usage of "Jehovah" in many places in the New Testament (NT). But more important to him is the NWT's "dishonest" non-usage of "Jehovah" in certain places in the NT! His three primary targets (1 Pet. 2:3 [pp. 34-35]; 1 Pet. 3:15a [pp. 36-37]; and Zech. 12:10/John 19:37 [pp. 37-38]) were chosen by him simply because the NWT translates these three scriptures in a way that denies some standard trinitarian "proofs" that Jesus is Jehovah. As he admits on p. 33, this is "The Real Issue: The Identification of Jesus with Jehovah"!

1 Peter 2:3

(:3) “For you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (:4) Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious” - 1 Peter 2:3, 4, RSV.[1]


"Taste and see that the Lord is good" - Ps. 34:8 (33:8), The Septuagint, Zondervan Publ., 1980 ed.


The question is not so much "was the name `Jehovah' (rather than "Lord") used at Ps. 34:8 in the original Septuagint (LXX)?" (It probably was.) The real question is: "Was Peter actually quoting Ps. 34:8 and applying `Jehovah' in it directly to Jesus?" Mr. Countess contends that he was. For evidence he points to the context: 1 Pet. 2:4 - "As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him" - NIV. [But analyze this statement, especially the contrast between "him" and "God."] And so he claims the NWT was very dishonest in not using "Jehovah" in place of "the Lord" at 1 Pet. 2:3 since it claims to use "Jehovah" in the NT when the inspired NT writer is actually quoting an OT text which originally used "Jehovah" (e.g., Jn 1:23; Acts 2:34; Acts 4:25, 26).

So, (1) if "him" in 1 Pet. 2:4 were intended to refer back to "the Lord" in 1 Pet. 2:3, and (2) if 1 Pet. 2:3 were intended to quote (or directly refer to) Ps. 34:8 which used `Jehovah,' then Mr. Countess' evidence would appear valid and significant and the NWT would appear to be wrong in not using "Jehovah" at 1 Peter 2:3 (and Jesus would appear to be Jehovah).

However, when even many respected trinitarian scholars indicate otherwise, we must strongly question the validity of such `evidence'!

For example, there is a complete break (including double space and new subheading titles) between 1 Pet. 2:3 and 1 Pet. 2:4 in some editions of certain respected, highly trinitarian Bibles which use subdivisions and subheadings. (See, for example, those editions of NIV, RSV, and NASB which use subheadings. Also see the NIVSB.) This indicates, of course, that even trinitarian scholars recognize that there is not necessarily a connection between the "him" in the new section (which begins with 1 Pet. 2:4) and the "Lord" in the preceding section (which ends with 1 Pet. 2:3). In other words, even if 1 Pet. 2:3 were intended by Peter to be referring to Jehovah, 1 Pet. 2:4 would not also have to do likewise.

Even noted trinitarian scholar F. J. A Hort (who apparently does refer 1 Pet. 2:3 to Ps. 34:8) does not accept the connection of "him" in 1 Pet. 2:4 with the "Lord" of 1 Pet. 2:3 as Mr. Countess wishes:

"In the Psalm [34:8] ó kurios stands for Jehovah, as it very often does, the LXX inserting and omitting the article with kurios on no apparent principal. On the other hand the next verse [1 Pet. 2:4] shews St Peter to have used ó kurios in its commonest though not universal N.T. sense, of Christ. It would be rash however to conclude that he meant to identify Jehovah with Christ. No such identification can be clearly made out in the N.T. St Peter is not here making a formal quotation, but merely borrowing O.T. language, and applying it in his own manner." - from p. 104, The First Epistle of Peter as quoted in the footnote for 1 Pet. 2:3 in the NWT Reference Bible, 1984.

There are a number of respected trinitarian translators who have indicated that 1 Peter 2:3 does not refer to Ps 34:8 nor intend that "Jehovah" was meant by Peter to be understood there. (Also the UBS' NT text, 3rd ed., 1975, which uses bold type to indicate a quote from the OT, does not use bold type for 1 Pet. 2:3.)

For example, my KJV reference Bible by Collins Press, 1955, does not even refer 1 Pet. 2:3 to Ps. 34:8 but only to Heb. 6:5. (Such reference listings are not limited to identifying quotations but often merely identify verses with similar terms or concepts. Even the 1951 NWT itself referred 1 Pet. 2:3 to Ps. 34:8 because of a similarity of terms, but obviously did not consider it a quote of that scripture.) This is a significant revelation in this trinitarian-published Bible which lists other clearer OT references and quotes such as: Is. 40:8 (for 1 Pet. 1:25); Is. 66:21 (for 1 Pet. 2:5); Is. 8:14 (1 Pet. 2:8); Deut. 10:15 and Ex. 19:5, 6 (1 Pet. 2:9); etc. Clearly the editors of this trinitarian publication don't believe Peter was necessarily referring to the "Jehovah" of Ps. 34:8 let alone actually quoting from it. So why does Mr. Countess accuse the non-trinitarian translators of the NWT of being so dishonest for believing the very same thing?

The trinitarian NKJV; RSV; NRSV; NASB; NIV; NAB (1970); NAB (1991); REB; JB; NJB; MLB; and translations by James Moffatt; and William F. Beck (Lutheran) use quotation marks (italic letters in NKJV, NJB, JB, Moffatt, and Beck; and all capital letters in NASB) in the NT to show what their trinitarian translators and editors considered to be a quote from the OT.

For example, the last part of 1 Pet. 5:5 in the NKJV; RSV; NRSV; NIV; Moffatt; NASB; JB; NJB; REB; MLB; NAB (1970); NAB (1991); and Beck is set off by quotation marks (italics in NKJV, Moffatt, JB; NJB; and Beck; all capitals in NASB) to show that their trinitarian translators and editors considered it to be a quote of Prov. 3:34, Septuagint. (In spite of the different wording in the Septuagint: `Lord' [or `Jehovah'] instead of `God' and didosi instead of didosin.) So if 1 Pet. 5:5 had used "Lord" and Prov. 3:34 had used "Jehovah," then the NWT would have translated "Jehovah" in place of "Lord" at 1 Pet. 5:5. And it might have properly been considered dishonest for not doing so.

But it is not always so clear whether a statement by a NT writer is actually a quote from the OT or not! For example, notice how many of these trinitarian translations agree that 1 Pet. 3:14 ends with a quote from Is. 8:12: NKJV; NIV; NASB; JB; NJB; Beck; NAB (1970); and Moffatt. Yes, RSV; NRSV; NAB (1991); REB; and MLB do not believe Peter was quoting from the OT at 1 Pet. 3:14! So there is strong disagreement here even among respected trinitarian scholars. And surely no honest Bible scholar would blame the NWT for also not considering it to be a quote from Is. 8:12 or not changing "Lord" to "Jehovah" (if "Lord" had actually appeared there) at that scripture.

But more important, how did these same trinitarian scholars treat the verse in question (1 Pet. 2:3) which Countess insists is a quote from the OT? Well, NKJV; RSV; NRSV; REB; NASB; NIV; NAB (1970); Moffatt; NAB (1991); and MLB do not indicate that 1 Pet. 2:3 is a quote from the OT!

Only JB; NJB; and Beck indicate the belief that Peter was quoting from the OT in this scripture! If so many trinitarian scholars do not believe that Peter was quoting "Lord" (or "Jehovah") from the OT, how is it so "dishonest" for the scholars who translated the NWT to do the same?

Let's also consider the Hebrew translations of the NT by highly trinitarian scholars (noted Lutheran scholar Franz Delitzsch's Hebrew New Testament, The Trinitarian Bible Society, London, 1981, and the trinitarian translators and publishers of the United Bible Societies' Hebrew New Testament, 1983). At 1 Peter 1:25 both translations have rendered the "Lord" (kurios) of the NT Greek text into the Hebrew "Jehovah" (Yhwh in Hebrew), not "Lord" (adon)!

(All the above trinitarian Bibles - NKJV; RSV; NIV; NASB, etc. - agree that 1 Pet. 1:25 truly is a quote from Is. 40:8 where "Jehovah" was used in the original manuscripts. The NKJV, which actually renders "Jehovah" from OT quotes in the NT as "LORD," not "Lord," renders this as "But the word of the LORD endures forever." )

But at the verse in question, 1 Pet. 2:3, both Hebrew New Testaments have rendered the "Lord" of NT Greek as adon ("Lord") rather than the name of God, Yhwh! Clearly, these highly respected trinitarian scholars did not believe 1 Pet. 2:3 was a quote from the OT (as they did for 1 Pet. 1:25) nor that "Jehovah" was intended there!

[2 Thess. 1:9 is also put in this category by Jason DeBuhn in his generally excellent Truth in Translation, p. 175, University Press of America, 2003.] [2]



1 Peter 3:15

"But in your hearts sanctify [hagiasate] Christ as Lord." - 1 Pet. 3:15a, NRSV.

"Sanctify [hagiasate] ye the Lord [Jehovah] himself" - Is. 8:13, Septuagint.

Mr. Countess' attack continues with a similar charge made about 1 Peter 3:15a in the NWT. He claims the NWT translators are being dishonest by not replacing "Lord" with "Jehovah" at this verse since it is another place where "the Apostle Peter quotes the Old Testament .... (Isa. 8:13)" and it would show that Jesus is Jehovah.

The answer to Mr. Countess' charge is basically the same as that for 1 Pet. 2:3 above. Many, if not most, of trinitarian scholars and translators themselves do not consider 1 Pet. 3:15a to be a quote from the OT !

The NT text of the United Bible Societies (3rd ed.) does not indicate a quote from the OT here (as it does at 1 Pet. 2:6, 7, 8, 9, and 22, for example). And many trinitarian Bible translators and editors also do not believe this to be a quote from the OT: NKJV; RSV; NRSV; NAB (1991); NAB (1970); REB; NASB; NIV; MLB. (A few of them, however, consider a portion of 1 Pet. 3:14 to be a quote from the OT: NKJV; NAB (1970); NASB; NIV.) Only JB; NJB; Moffatt; and Beck consider 1 Pet 3:15a to be a quote from the OT.

Of the only two Hebrew New Testaments that I have, the trinitarian United Bible Societies' 1983 edition uses "Jehovah" (Yhwh) twice in 1 Pet. 3:12 which shows the translators' belief that it is a quotation by Peter from the OT. But at 1 Peter 3:15 it does not use "Jehovah" but instead uses "Lord" (adon)!

The other Hebrew New Testament in my possession, the Trinitarian Bible Society's 1981 edition of Lutheran Delitzsch's Hebrew New Testament, does use "Jehovah" at 1 Pet. 3:15, which may indicate a quote from the OT. However, what it says is: "Sanctify Jehovah God [not `Christ'] in your heart."

The reason for this translation by trinitarian Delitzsch is the NT Greek text he used. He used the Received Text, the very same one that the KJV (and KJIIV and NKJV and Young's Literal Translation) is based on. This text was made by using the majority of existing NT Greek manuscripts without weighing the value of the very oldest manuscripts. As a result it does not use "Christ" at 1 Pet. 3:15a at all, but says "sanctify the Lord God in your heart." (Also note how these modern trinitarian Bibles based on modern trinitarian-developed texts render 1 Pet. 3:15 - "concentrate on being completely devoted to Christ in your hearts" - Phillips; "have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and make him your Lord" - TEV [3rd ed., 1971]; "trust yourself to Christ your Lord" - Living Bible.)

Yes, even the KJV itself does not say what Countess wants it to say! If the NWT had used the same Greek text that the KJV did, it could have said "Sanctify Jehovah God in your hearts" (since the phrase "Lord God" in the Septuagint usually means "Jehovah God" as found in the Hebrew OT)! But since it used a more accurate text (based on the oldest NT manuscripts still in existence), it properly says: "Sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts."

But in either case there is no evidence here for Jesus being called "Jehovah"! Many trinitarian scholars indicate that it is not a quote from the OT, and some even use a Greek NT text which does not use "Christ" here in the first place!

So when you have a better look at the facts, how can any honest person insist that the NWT is being dishonest here? If the majority of trinitarian Bible translators do not consider 1 Pet. 3:15a to be a quote from the OT, why in the world should the NWT translators be called dishonest for doing exactly the same thing?

[Incidentally, it is incredibly strange that this "critical analysis" which "was successfully defended for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in New Testament Text" in 1966, carefully reviewed and published in 1982, carefully reviewed again and printed as a second edition in 1987, has so many glaring errors. In this section (1 Peter 3:15a, p. 36), for example, Countess has stated that the NWT footnote for 1 Pet. 3:15 lists 7 "medieval" Hebrew translations for one of several alternate translations.

But medieval times (or the Middle Ages) extended from the fall of the Roman Empire to "about the year 1550" (Americana) or up to "the close of the 15th century [1500 A.D.]" (Universal Standard Encyclopedia). Some authorities choose 1400 A.D. as the approximate date for the end of the medieval period (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary), but I don't believe any historian extends the Middle Ages up into the 1600's! And yet here are the dates of the "Medieval Hebrew translations" that Countess (and apparently all the many scholarly reviewers, including the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.) has downgraded: 1599; 1661; 1831; 1838; 1846; 1866; and 1877! Undoubtedly the word "medieval" was chosen by Countess because it generally connotes an older, less scholarly, more ignorant era. But to keep using such an obviously erroneous label through many revisions over 21 years strictly for propaganda reasons is unacceptable! We should also note that the respected United Bible Societies published its Hebrew New Testament in 1982 and also uses "adonai" ("lord") rather than YHWH at 1 Peter 3:15!]

Zech. 12:10/John 19:37

Jehovah says: "...they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for HIM, as one mourneth for his only son" - Zech 12:10, KJV.

Of course Countess insists that Jehovah's saying, "me whom they have pierced" proves that Jesus is Jehovah. He has no real explanation for the NT text that actually clarifies this scripture, but insists that it, too, somehow, shows that Jesus is Jehovah.

Although Countess is trying to show the "dishonesty" of the New Testament of the NWT as it concerns "evidence" of Jesus being Jehovah, the "evidence" is so sparse that he is forced to slip back to an acknowledged corrupt text in the Old Testament for further "proof"!

Unfortunately for Countess (and the many other charlatans who attempt this particular "proof"), even many trinitarian translations disagree:

"... when they look upon him whom they have pierced" - RSV. Also in agreement with this rendering (and completely ignored by Countess) are NRSV; GNB; MLB; NAB (1970); NAB (1991); LB; Mo; AT; JB; NJB; NLV; BBE; and Byington. (The ASV says in a footnote for "me" in Zech. 12:10: "According to some MSS [manuscripts], `him'." Also see Rotherham footnote.)

Even the context tells us that the latter non-trinitarian rendering is the correct one. Notice that after saying that they will look upon me (or him) God continues with "they shall mourn for him"! Notice how the KJV (and those following its tradition) contradicts itself here. The "me" in the first half simply does not agree with the "him" of the second half. Since there has never been any question about the accuracy of the word "him" in the second half, the disputed word of the first half (which has manuscript evidence for both renderings) must also properly be rendered as "him" (or "the one").

The testimony of the first Christian writers to come after the NT writers (the `Ante-Nicene Fathers') confirms the non-trinitarian translation of Zechariah 12:10 ("him"). Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (repeatedly) rendered Zech. 12:10 as "him whom they pierced"! This is specially significant because many trinitarian scholars and historians claim these particular early Christians (including Origen who doesn't quote Zech. 12:10 at all in his existing writings) are the very ones who actually began the development of the trinity doctrine for Christendom! If any of the earliest Christian writers, then, would use a trinitarian interpretation here, it would certainly be these three. Since they do not do so, it must mean that the source for the `look upon me' rendering originated even later than the time of Ignatius, Irenaeus, and Tertullian (early 3rd century A.D.)!

The Septuagint (LXX) uses "me" (in the existing copies, at least - 4th century A. D. and later), but it is significantly different from the Hebrew: "They shall look upon me, because they have mocked me, and they shall make lamentation for him, as for a beloved [friend], and they shall grieve intensely, as for a firstborn [son]." - Zech. 12:10, Septuagint, Zondervan, 1976 printing. In other words, (1) they will look upon God whom they have mocked [not "pierced"] as their judgment arrives and (2) they will mourn Christ. The two are not the same person here, nor the same God!

"The [Hebrew] text of Zech. 12:10 is corrupt. The LXX [Greek Septuagint] text reads:... (`they shall look upon me whom they have treated spitefully') .... The text in [Jn 19:37] does not follow the LXX; but it has also avoided the impossible [`me'] of the Hebrew text." - p. 195, John 2, Ernst Haenchen, Fortress Press, 1984.

The JPS translation of Zech 12:10 in Tanakh (NJV) also reveals that the text of Zech 12:10 is corrupt. The NJV (New Jewish Version or Tanakh published by the Jewish Publication Society) is highly praised for its accuracy by noted trinitarian Bible scholars Sakae Kubo and Walter F. Specht in their popular book So Many Versions? which analyzes and critiques modern Bibles:

"The NJV is a monument to careful scholarship .... It ranks as one of the best translations of the Hebrew Bible [the Old Testament] available." - p. 143, SMV, Zondervan Publ.

A footnote says that the Hebrew sometimes rendered "when they look upon" is "uncertain." Although it uses the pronoun "me," it renders Zech 12:10,

"they shall lament to Me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born." - Jewish Publication Society, 1985.

But most important of all, closely examine John 19:37 (even in the KJV) where this scripture has been quoted by John! All translations show John here translating Zech. 12:10 as "They shall look upon him [or `the one'] whom they pierced." So we have this Apostle and inspired Bible writer telling us plainly (and undisputed even by trinitarian scholars) that Zechariah 12:10 should read: "They shall look upon him" (not `me'). Therefore, Jehovah is speaking in Zech. 12:10 of someone else who will be pierced - not Himself!

There simply is no real evidence strong enough for Countess, or anyone else, to honestly insist that "the antecedent of `the one' in the phrase `the one whom they pierced' [Jn 19:37] can be none other than Jehovah God." And for him to insist that the NWT is dishonest for translating Zech. 12:10 in the same way that so many respected trinitarian scholars have done is dishonest in itself!

Countess' "evidence" that the NT quotes the OT and thereby calls Jesus `Jehovah' is specious.

Furthermore, exactly who is being called Jehovah by the inspired NT writers when they are really quoting from the OT? Is it ever the Son?

Well, if you didn't know the history of the Jewish writings (See ISRAEL study paper) and the clear statements of the OT (e.g., Is. 63:16, "You Jehovah are our Father" - The King James II Version - cf. the American Standard Version), you would not be able to tell in all cases. Context does not always make it clear for those who don't know that Jehovah was always used for the personal name of the Father alone. However, sometimes context does clarify it:

Acts 2:34 (Ps. 110:1)

Acts 3:22 (Deut. 18:15, 18)

Acts 4:26 (Ps. 2:1, 2)

And whenever the context is clear, it is found that the Son is never called Jehovah – only the Father is!
(Old Testament references found in parentheses above are from the NIV Study Bible, but most other trinitarian reference Bibles would agree.)

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As a part of his attack upon the NWT's `dishonest' use of "Jehovah" in the NT, Mr. Countess uses a list (Table IV, p. 104) to "prove" that the NWT translators, editors, and publishers are hypocritically dishonest! He claims that there are only 50 places in the NT where the inspired writer has quoted OT scriptures which actually use "Jehovah." Therefore, he tells us there should be a maximum of 50 places where the NWT has `honestly' changed "Lord" or "God" in the NT to "Jehovah" (to match the original OT quote)! And yet the NWT has used "Jehovah" in 237 places in the NT! Even worse, only 39 of them (out of a possible 50) are places where the NT actually quotes [3] an OT scripture using "Jehovah" (according to Mr. Countess)! Therefore, according to this trinitarian "scholar" and Presbyterian minister, the NWT has dishonestly and hypocritically used "Jehovah" in 198 out of the 237 instances (about 85% of the time)! {Please see my JHVHNT study} Below is the first part of Table IV (p. 104) which Mr. Countess uses in support of his extremely serious charges:


TABLE IV

"Jehovah's" in the Main Text of NWT



Book.....YHWH in OT text...NWT based on YHWH..not based on YHWH

Matthew..........8.....................7 ............................. 11

Mark.............. 2 ................... 2.................................7

Luke............... 2................... 2............................... 34

John............... 2................... 1................................. 4

Etc.



[In other words, Countess is claiming that there are only 8 places in Matthew which quote or refer to an OT use of YHWH ('Jehovah'). Then he claims that the NWT uses 18 "Jehovahs" in the Book of Matthew. Of those 18, he claims that only 7 of them are actually based on a passage in the OT which uses YHWH. Then he claims that the 11 other "Jehovahs" in the Book of Matthew in the NWT are NOT based on a use of YHWH in the OT!!]

Why don't we actually examine the accuracy of this table by Mr. Countess? That is the only way that one can truly determine who is being dishonest!

For example, notice that in his table he claims that John only quoted twice from the OT where it originally used "Jehovah," whereas the NWT has used "Jehovah" 5 times in the Gospel of John. Furthermore, of those 5 times, he claims, only one is actually based on an OT use of "Jehovah"! In other words, the NWT is dishonest in 4 of its 5 uses of "Jehovah" in the Gospel of John because they are not based on an OT use of "Jehovah"!

We have seen that even respected trinitarian scholars disagree as to whether certain NT scriptures are quotes (or clear, direct references) to OT scriptures or not. Sometimes the evidence is simply not strong enough to make it certain. However, for a Bible to disagree with all other Bibles and scholars in 80% (4 out of 5) of such cases might justify an accusation of dishonesty.

The five uses of "Jehovah" in John by the NWT are Jn 1:23; 6:45; 12:13; and 12:38 (twice). Is it really true, as Countess claims, that only one of these uses a quote from the OT where "Jehovah" was originally used?

(1) ALL of the trinitarian Bible translations I used above to determine what was a quote from the OT and what was not (NKJV; RSV; NRSV; NASB; NIV; REB; NAB (1970); NAB (1991); JB; NJB; MLB; Moffatt; and Beck) show Jn 1:23 to be a quote from the OT: Is. 40:3 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV actually uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original!

(2) ALL of those same trinitarian Bibles show Jn 6:45 to be a quote from the OT: Is. 54:13 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts).

(3) Six of those same trinitarian Bibles (NKJV; NASB; JB; NJB; Moffatt; and Beck) show Jn 12:13 to be a quote from the OT: Ps. 118:26 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original!

(4) & (5) ALL of those same trinitarian Bibles show Jn 12:38 to be a quote from the OT: Is. 53:1 (which does use "Jehovah" once in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword `LORD' here (once only, however) which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original! The only possible accusation of "dishonesty" here could be the fact that the NWT has rendered both `Lord's in Jn 12:38 as "Jehovah" whereas the original being quoted uses only one "Jehovah." However, the context certainly suggests that the first "Lord" is directed to Jehovah also. And a number of Hebrew New Testament translations have rendered both `Lord's at Jn 12:38 as "Jehovah." This includes the two I have in my possession which are translated by respected trinitarians: (1) by the United Bible Societies, 1983 printing; and (2) Delitzsch's Hebrew New Testament, The Trinitarian Bible Society, 1981 printing.

So just how is the NWT being "dishonest" by using "Jehovah" 5 times in these 4 verses in the Gospel of John where John is quoting from the OT? And how honest is Mr. Countess when he tells us that only one use of "Jehovah" in the Gospel of John in the NWT is supported by a quote from the OT? Exactly who is being dishonest?

Another good example from Mr. Countess' table is that of Mark.

In Mark, he claims, there are only two times that Mark quoted from the OT where "Jehovah" was used in the original OT manuscripts. But there are 9 times in Mark that the NWT has used "Jehovah." Therefore, according to Countess, the NWT has used the Divine Name in Mark "dishonestly" 7 times!
All of the 9 uses of "Jehovah" in Mark by the NWT are: Mark 1:3; 5:19; 11:9; 12:11; 12:29 (twice); 12:30; 12:36; and 13:20. Is it really true that only two of these use a quote from the OT where "Jehovah" was originally used?

(1) ALL of the 13 trinitarian Bible translations I used above to determine what is considered a quote from the OT and what is not show Mk 1:3 to be a quote from Isaiah 40:3 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts).

(2) NONE of those same trinitarian Bibles indicates Mk 5:19 to be a quote from the OT. However, the context makes the connection to Jehovah probable. In addition, 7 Hebrew New Testament translations do use "Jehovah" at Mk 5:19. This includes the two respected trinitarian Hebrew New Testaments I have: Delitzsch's and the UBS'. It certainly does not seem dishonest for "Jehovah" to be used here, but it apparently is not a quote from the OT.

(3) SIX of those same trinitarian Bibles (NKJV; NASB; JB; NJB; Moffatt; and Beck) show Mk 11:9 to be a quote from Ps. 118:26 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original! The NIVSB also tells us in a footnote for Mk 11:9, "A quotation of Ps. 118:26." Also 14 Hebrew New Testaments use "Jehovah" at Mk 11:9. This includes the two modern, respected trinitarian Hebrew New Testaments I have in my possession.

(4) ALL of those same trinitarian Bibles show Mk 12:11 to be a quote from Ps. 118:23 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original!

(5) ALL of those same trinitarian Bibles show Mk 12:29 ("Hear, O Israel, the Lord God....") to be a quote from the OT: Deut. 6:4 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original!

(6) ALL of those same trinitarian Bibles show Mk 12:29 (last part of verse: "...the Lord is one.") to be a quote from the OT: Deut. 6:4 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original!

(7) ALL of those same trinitarian Bibles show Mk 12:30 to be a quote from Deut. 6:5 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original!

(8) ALL of those same trinitarian Bibles show Mk 12:36 to be a quote from Ps. 110:1 (which does use "Jehovah" in the original OT manuscripts). And NKJV again uses its keyword (`LORD') here which indicates "Jehovah" was in the original!

(9) NONE of those same trinitarian Bibles shows Mk 13:20 to be a quote from the OT. However, as in Mk 5:19 above, the context makes the connection probable. In addition there are 10 Hebrew New Testament translations which use "Jehovah" here in Mk 13:20. This includes the 2 respected trinitarian translations I have in my possession. It certainly does not seem dishonest for "Jehovah" to be used here, although it does not appear to be a quote from the OT.

It is very obvious that at least 7 of the 9 uses of "Jehovah" in Mark by the NWT are from quotes by Mark of the OT which also used "Jehovah"!

So exactly who is being dishonest? Are there really only 2 places in Mark where an OT passage using "Jehovah" is being quoted or referred to by Mark? Mr. Countess insists there are!

Everyone else says there are at least 7! And some other respected trinitarian sources agree that "Jehovah" is also an appropriate rendering in the two other places the NWT uses "Jehovah" in the Gospel of Mark!

So, honestly, exactly who is being dishonest?


* * * *

Another major attack on the honesty of the NWT by Mr. Countess concerns the use of the definite article ("the") with the word for "God/god" (theos) in NT Greek.

He implies that the NWT translators have made up a rule that whenever the article appears with the word theos, it should be rendered into English as "God," and whenever theos appears without the article, "a god" should be used:

"What, then, is the import of translating theos `a god'? If it is simply a matter of the presence or absence of the article, then why cannot a principle be established and followed throughout the New Testament that ho [`the'] theos be translated `God' and theos be rendered `a god'? This is, to be sure, the implication of the line of reasoning set forth in the NWT appendix." - p. 44.

This is not what the NWT appendix said. And it is not implied. As Mr. Countess well knows, the use of theos at Jn 1:1c is in the nominative case (the form used for subjects and predicate nouns and which has the surest use of the article) and has no other words to modify or describe it further. This eliminates the many exceptions to article use (or non-use) found in other situations.

The nominative case for theos is theos. This very same word in its other cases is: theou; theon; theo ; thee. Most of these cases, unlike the nominative case (but see the THEON study), use the article very irregularly and cannot be relied on to use or not use the article in a meaningful way to speakers (and writers) of English! (see DEF study paper).

However, in addition to different cases, there are still several exceptions to the use of the article even with the nominative case theos. The most notable is the irregularity caused by using a preposition ("in," "on," "of," "with," "to," etc.) in conjunction with theos: "Man of God;" "God of Israel;" "with God;" etc. (The other exceptions are found in the writings of Paul, but since Paul did not write John 1:1, we will not go into these additional details. - See the MARTIN study.) That Countess is not ignorant of this commonly known fact of NT Greek is shown by his own statement on p. 47:

"Blass-Debrunner, basing comment upon an exhaustive study by Bernhard Weiss, observed that whenever the Jewish or Christian God is in view, the article is present, but that it may be omitted after prepositions and if in the genitive when depending on an anarthrous noun."

Countess devotes 44 pages (33% or 1/3 of the entire book!) to showing the NWT's "dishonest" and "hypocritical" use of theos (`God/god'). 27 pages in the appendix list all uses of the word (whether theos, theou, theon, theo or thee or with prepositions or not) in the left column to show that it has the article with it in the NT text. In the right column, of course, he lists all of the other uses which do not have the article in the NT text. In those columns he shows how the NWT has translated the term. He gleefully points out that a few of the uses of the term that have the article are not translated "God" in the NWT, and a few of them that do not have the article are not translated "a god." His conclusion that the NWT has dishonestly, hypocritically not followed a rule that he says they made concerning this usage is incredibly dishonest itself.

Of course some of the forms of the word which often have irregular article usage (as discussed above) are sometimes translated in the NWT contrary to Countess' "rule" for the NWT rendering of theos! But these forms are not the form as used in Jn 1:1c and are well known by NT Greek scholars as forms that use the definite article irregularly: sometimes they have the article when it seems (in English) that they should not, and sometimes they do not have the article when it seems (in English) that they should!

But when we eliminate all the forms which use the article irregularly and stick to the nominative theos without prepositions (as found at Jn 1:1c itself), we find that in all the writings of John (and the other Gospel writers) the article is used with theos whenever he truly intends the meaning "God"!

Countess concludes Chapter 4:

"Finally, and most importantly, table V demonstrated how NWT applied or did not apply its principle formulated in the appendix to John 1:1. And it is the investigator's [Countess himself] firm conclusion that NWT demonstrates utter disregard for the canon thus set forth in its own appendix. .... It bears repeating: NWT has been 94 percent of the time unfaithful to its own principle of translation."

Although the "rule," "principle," or "canon" that the article ("the") is always with theos (in all its forms) when it means "God" and is not with theos (all forms) when it means "a god" IS NOT SAID NOR INTENDED BY THE WRITERS OF THE NWT APPENDIX, but INVENTED by Countess himself, nevertheless, it actually is the case 80% of the time in the New Testament! The NWT, however, really said in the appendix referred to by Countess that in constructions similar to Jn 1:1c the indefinite article ("a") is usually inserted by all Bible translators. It lists a number of such places (including John 4:19 "a prophet;" 6:70 "a devil;" 9:24, 25 "a sinner;" 10:33 "a man;" 12:6 "a thief") where a predicate noun (nominative case and without prepositions) which is without an article comes before its verb (as in Jn 1:1c).

It then concluded: "If the indefinite article can be inserted before the predicate noun in such texts, no objection can rightly be raised against inserting the indefinite article `a' before the anarthrous [without article] theos in the predicate of John 1:1 to make it read `a god'." - p. 776, Appendix, NWT, 1951 ed.

* * * *

Sharp's Rule

On pp. 66-69 Countess examines some "God and Savior" passages and invokes "Sharp's Rule" to help "prove" that "God" and "Christ" ("the Savior") are the very same person! This rule claims that when two nouns are connected by "and" and the first noun has the article ("the") and the second does not have the article ("the"), then both nouns always refer to the same person. (In other words, "She saw the lord and master" would mean she saw a single person since "lord" has the article ("the") with it and "master" does not. Likewise, "She saw the boy and girl" would have to mean the boy and girl are both the very same person!)

Sharp's Rule is so invalid that even many trinitarian scholars disavow it! It relies on flawed conclusions based on well-known grammatical errors. Rather than cover all the evidence against this "rule" again (see SHARP and SHARP-PRIMER studies), I'll merely address Countess' statement concerning the great "dishonesty" of the NWT concerning Sharp's Rule and Titus 2:13.

He quotes from the appendix of the 1950 NWT concerning Titus 2:13. Here the NWT quotes from trinitarian J. H. Moulton's A Grammar of New Testament Greek. Moulton denies any absolute rule of grammar proving that "God" and "Christ Jesus" in Titus 2:13 are the same person. Being trinitarian, however, he points out that 5 manuscripts of the 7th century A.D. (medieval and trinitarian) do use the phrase "Jesus Christ our God and Savior." Moulton adds, however, that the complete statement used in these manuscripts is "in the name of the Lord and Master Jesus Christ our God and Savior and of our mistress the holy mother of God." The NWT points out that by the 7th century the Roman Church had not only embraced (and forced upon its members under penalty of banishment and death) the non-biblical Trinity Doctrine (325 A.D.) - see HIST study paper - but also the non-biblical doctrine that Mary is the mother of God. Just because the trinitarian "Christians" of the 7th century used the expression "Jesus Christ our God and Savior" and "Mary the mother of God" does not provide support for believing the inspired Bible writers of the 1st century (over 200 years before Nicaea and the enforced trinity doctrine) used similar expressions.

But Countess then writes emphatically (p. 68):

This investigator is utterly amazed to observe how NWT translators can discount so casually `7th century' papyri when the Hebrew translations constantly cited to support their restoration of `Jehovah' to the sacred [New Testament] text are themselves much later. (Italics are Countess' own.)

The 7th century papyri in question are not Scripture, copies of Scripture, nor even translations of Scripture. These are independent writings of extremely trinitarian individuals (whether they believed it or not, they had to write and speak trinitarian-supporting statements or be severely punished by the Roman Catholic Church - see HIST study paper). They are not NT Greek language experts showing us how they believe Titus 2:13 should be translated! It is to be expected that trinitarians of the 7th century in their own uninspired writings would call Jesus "our God and Savior"! This has absolutely no bearing on the proper translation of the inspired first century scriptures 600 years earlier!

For New Testament language experts and translators to indicate their understanding of how the inspired scriptures should be translated is worthy of note and in no way compares with the situation of the 7th century "Christians" above. Countess himself refers to Bible translators and language experts of relatively recent and modern times to support his own preference of how a scripture should be translated (e.g., Colwell: pp. 48-49,53; Metzger: p. 53; RSV, CBW, NEB, ASV : p. 80). That is exactly what the NWT has done with the translation of kurios as "Jehovah" at certain places in the NT! It has referred to a number of translations by other Bible translators and NT language experts who have translated in the same way! The fact that these translators and language experts are of relatively recent times is so much the better: knowledge of NT Greek and the original Bible manuscripts has been increasing for the last 1000 years! (Because evidence for "trinitarian" meanings found in actual manuscript copies of scripture are relatively meaningless after the 4th century A.D. when the Roman Church began enforcing its new trinity doctrine, it's `the older the better' for actual manuscripts of scripture, since it is no secret that many changes have been made in later manuscripts by copyists who often tried to provide "scriptural" evidence for their doctrinal beliefs. So, generally, "the older it is the better it is" for Bible manuscripts.)

Please examine again Countess' great indignation above in his "apples and oranges" misstatement!

Then, p. 69, he states:

"By way of criticism, the investigator [Countess himself] must take sharp exception to the entire appendix [of the NWT concerning Titus 2:13]. First, it drastically fails to meet the real problem: that the ascription of `Savior' is to both God the Father and to Jesus Christ in the same epistle - not to mention the other Pastorals. This matter is completely passed over in silence.

"Secondly, the translation, `the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus,' interpolates the preposition `of' before `our Savior.' This addition to the text implies that the happy hope and manifestation of glory will be an event in which two personages will be seen, God and Christ Jesus. But the contrary may be seen to be true, and for this reason. More than a century ago Granville Sharp formulated a rule concerning the Greek article with nouns connected by kai [`and'] .... [Applying Sharp's Rule] to Titus 2:13 ... one observes that tou [`the'] goes with `God' and `Savior.' This future expected hope and manifestation is that brought by the advent of the one person `Jesus Christ, the great God and our Savior.'"

There has never been a problem with God being called "the Savior" and others also being called "saviors." Even though God says "besides me there is no savior" (Is. 43:11), we should not believe that the Bible does not call others "savior"! It has always been clear that God is the ultimate savior but that he saves through other people and agencies. Those people and agencies may be called "savior" also.

In other words, it would be ludicrous to insist that, since Othniel (Judges 3:9) and Ehud (Judges 3:15) are both called "savior" (the very same OT word translated "savior" at Is. 43:11), they both must be God! (Also see Obadiah 21.)

This is further illustrated at Judges 6:14 where Jehovah commands Gideon to save Israel. But later the savior, Gideon, says it is Jehovah who is saving Israel (Judges 6:37). If we insisted on using trinitarian-type evidence, then, we would insist that Jehovah and Gideon must both be God (or the same person)! Instead, an honest, objective examination would show that Gideon (like Ehud, Othniel, and others) may have been the savior of Israel, but it was ultimately Jehovah, who in the highest sense was savior of Israel through Gideon.

With this proper understanding in mind examine Jude 25. KJV using an outdated, inferior text has rendered this incorrectly, but nearly all modern translations, using better texts, translate Jude 25: "To the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord" - RSV. The word "through" explains how Jesus (like Gideon, Ehud, etc.) can be called "savior" even though Jehovah is the only ultimate savior! - Compare 1 Thess. 5:9; John 3:17; Rev. 7:10 in modern Bibles.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (trinitarian) also tells us:
"Because God is the initiator [source] of salvation, both he and Christ are called soter, saviour..." - p. 78, Vol. 2, Zondervan, 1986.

So there is certainly no mystery about Jehovah being called the savior and Jesus being called the savior. This is not evidence of a 2-in-one God at all! That such an obvious and well-known fact should be "passed over in silence" by the NWT appendix writers should not be surprising. (It is explained in other literature that all JWs should be familiar with.)

Even the implication that the NWT has dishonestly added "of" to "our Savior" in Titus 2:13 is absolute devious deception!

Every New Testament language scholar (from beginning novice to expert) knows that genitive nouns (like "Savior" at Titus 2:13) literally include "of" in their meaning! Yes, the genitive soteros in Titus 2:13 literally means "of savior" whether the translator decides to include it in his translation or not! It is no different from the genitives "God" (theou), "Christ" (christou), or "lord" (kuriou) which literally mean "of God," "of Christ," and "of lord."

For example, although theou is sometimes translated "God" at Eph. 5:5, the following trinitarian Bibles render it more literally as "of God": "In the kingdom of Christ [literally "the Christ"] and of God" - KJV; also NIV; RSV; NRSV; LB; NEB; REB; MLB; NAB (both 1970 and 1991 editions); GNB (& TEV); MKJV; Webster; Weymouth; and Phillips translations. (Obviously "Sharp's Rule" doesn't work here for these respected trinitarian translations.)

And although kuriou is sometimes translated "Lord" at 2 Thess. 1:12, the following trinitarian Bibles render it literally as "of Lord": "tender mercy of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" - Living Bible; also MLB; GNB; NAB (1970 ed.); Douay Version; Darby; Webster; and Weymouth translations; and Barclay's Daily Study Bible. (Obviously "Sharp's Rule" also doesn't work here for these respected trinitarian translators.)

And although christou is sometimes translated "Christ" at 1 Tim 5:21, the following trinitarian Bibles render it literally as "of Christ": "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus" - Revised Standard Version; also NRSV; NASB; MLB; GNB (& TEV); and Weymouth's translation. (Again "Sharp's Rule" doesn't work here for these respected trinitarian translators, either.)

And, again, at 2 Tim. 4:1 christou may be translated "Christ" in a few trinitarian Bibles, but the following trinitarian Bibles render it literally as "of Christ" - RSV; NIV; NASB; GNB; TEV; MLB; NRSV; NAB (1970 and 1991); Weymouth; and Phillips translations. ("Sharp's Rule" certainly doesn't work here for most trinitarian translators, either.)

So when we see the genitive soteros [`savior'] in the NT manuscripts, even though it literally means "of savior," we may honestly translate it as either "of savior" or "savior"! That is why even these trinitarian Bibles have translated soteros at Titus 2:13 as: "we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ" - New American Bible (1991 ed.); "we await our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus" - NAB (1970); "we hope and wait for the glorious denouement of the great God and of Jesus Christ our savior" - Phillips.

When Countess implies that the NWT has dishonestly added "of" at Titus 2:13, he is hypocritically taking advantage of the trust of the average member of Christendom who has little or no knowledge of NT Greek grammar. Sharp's Rule is completely untrustworthy (at best) and the NWT rendering of Titus 2:13 (and other "Sharp's constructions") is perfectly honest.

* * * *

In an attempt to "balance out" his attacks on the NWT which are almost exclusively devoted to a defense of the trinity doctrine, Countess has thrown in a short chapter which includes a few, short attacks on the NWT's rendering of a few NT words. In so doing he pretends that the NWT translators have claimed to have produced a totally literal translation with absolutely no paraphrase or interpolation (needed additions for clarification)! This is absolutely false! As any Bible translator would readily admit, there is no way to translate the NT Greek found in the Bible manuscripts without some paraphrase and addition. The most literal English Bibles ever produced (excluding interlinears, of course), whether KJV, ASV, NASB, RSV, etc., frequently add words and phrases to make it understandable to English-speaking readers. They also all paraphrase difficult idioms and usages of the first century Greek language to bring out the intended meaning![4] Countess knows this as well as anyone, and is being incredibly dishonest here.

A "paraphrase" Bible is one which is primarily paraphrased, such as the Living Bible, and a "literal" Bible is one that is primarily literal in its rendering, such as the New American Standard Bible (widely considered the most literal of modern Bibles). For instance, the actual word-for-word rendering of the NT Greek for Rev. 2:22, 23 is:

"Look! I am throwing her into bed and the committing adultery with her into affliction/tribulation great if ever not they will repent out of the works of her. And the children of her I will kill in death and will know all the congregations that I am the searching kidneys and hearts..."

The literal Bible (NASB) renders this:

"Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts..." - NASB (compare RSV).

Notice that, among a number of other differences, "of sickness" has been interpolated (added) and "kidneys" has been paraphrased as "minds."

The paraphrase Bible (LB) renders it:

"Pay attention now to what I am saying: I will lay her upon a sickbed of intense affliction, along with her immoral followers, unless they turn again to me, repenting of their sin with her; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches deep within men's hearts, and minds..." - LB.

Obviously a paraphrase Bible is much freer to use words and phrases that are not literal but which attempt to convey a similar thought overall. The more literal a Bible is, the more stiff, wooden, and potentially confusing it is to its readers. But even the most literal Bibles must paraphrase (as little as possible) and interpolate (as little as possible) for clarity.

The NWT (1971 ed.) renders the above passage as:

"Look! I am about to throw her into a sickbed, and those committing adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And her children I will kill with deadly plague, so that all the congregations will know that I am he who searches the kidneys and hearts..." - NWT.

Isn't this translation at least as literal as that of the NASB?

In spite of what Countess claims the NWT translation principles are, here is what the 1951 NWT actually said in its foreword:

"The translation of the Scriptures into a modern language should be rendered...in the speech forms current among the people. We offer no paraphrase of the Scriptures [in other words, this is to be classified as a literal Bible, not a paraphrase]. Our endeavor all through has been to give as literal a translation as possible, where the modern English idiom allows and where a literal rendition does not ... hide the thought. .... Watch has been kept against taking liberties with texts for the mere sake of brevity or short cuts and against substitution of a modern parallel, where the rendering of the original idea makes good sense." - p. 9.

So, as with all other "literal" Bibles (including the famed NASB, ASV, and RSV), the NWT does at times "interpolate" (add understood information) and "paraphrase." But it does so much less often than other modern Bible translations.

Now here are the terms that Countess objects to in the NWT:

KERAS SOTERIAS - Literally this is "a horn of salvation," and Countess strongly objects to the NWT translating this as "a mighty savior" in the 1951 ed. at Lk. 1:69. - p. 76 (even though they provided a footnote which said: "Literally, `raised up a horn of salvation.'")

However, the NWT, since 1969 (at least), has rendered it more literally as "a horn of salvation" in the main text.

But look at these renderings of Lk. 1:69 by other respected Bibles: "a mighty savior" - NRSV; "a mighty Saviour" - CBW; "a mighty Savior" - AT; "a powerful Savior" - MLB; "a strong deliverer" - REB; "a saving power" - NJB; "victorious Savior" - Beck (NT); "a power for salvation" - JB; "a deliverer of victorious power" - NEB; "a mighty Deliverer" - Weymouth; "a mighty Savior" - CEV; "a mighty Deliverer" - Wesley; "a strong saviour" - Moffatt.

Obviously the NWT translators thought (as did the translators of NRSV; NEB; REB; JB; NJB; AT; MLB; etc.) that "horn of salvation" would "hide the thought," and so they rendered it in the "modern English idiom" at first. When they revised it later, however, they restored the more literal "horn of salvation." But, as proved by the renderings of many other translators, neither rendering is improper in a literal Bible!

ASIARCHES - Countess continues his attack of the NWT's honesty and accuracy: "In Acts 19:31 the NWT renders the plural of [asiarches] `the commissioners of festivals and games.' The addition of the explanatory, and truly helpful, paraphrase `of festivals and games' is unjustifiable on the basis of NWT principles [?]. More preferable is a rendering like that of the Authorized Version, `the chief of Asia,' or, if desired, simply the transliteration, `Asiarchs.' NWT's `the commissioners of festivals and games' is not found in Arndt-Gingrich or Liddell-Scott." - pp. 76-78.

"The chief of Asia" is probably a mistranslation, and "Asiarchs" is basically meaningless to modern speakers of English. Obviously the NWT translators decided to make the term understandable. They could have used "Asiarchs" along with a footnote explaining the term, but apparently decided, instead, to include the meaning of the word in the translation itself. All literal Bibles do the same. For example, Luke 21:2 actually says that the poor widow donated to the temple "two lepta." Lepta were small copper coins of very little value. But not even the very literal NASB translates the name of those tiny, insignificant coins literally: "He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins." The unfamiliar term (lepta) is translated here by a description understandable to modern speakers of English ("small copper coins"). Exactly the same method has been used by the NWT for the unfamiliar "Asiarchs"!

"These `Asiarchs' were ten officers elected by cities in the province who celebrated at their own cost public games and festivals." - p. 327, vol. 3, Word Pictures in the New Testament, A. T. Robertson.

"[Asiarchs] acted, doubtless, as presidents in local festivals as well as in the provincial games" - p. 172, Vol. 1, Hastings, A Dictionary of the Bible.

"[Asiarchs] were not `high priests of Asia,' as some have thought, but delegates of individual cities to the provincial Council ... They were probably assembled at Ephesus, among other places, to preside over the public games and the religious rites at the festival" - p. 282, Vol. 1, The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Eerdmans, 1984 printing.

"[Asiarchs,] Officers chosen annually .... They had charge of the public games and religious theatrical spectacles" - p. 60, Smith's Bible Dictionary, Hendrickson Publ.

"[Asiarch, one selected] to preside over the games to be exhibited that year" - A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Thayer, p. 80 (#775), Baker Book House, 1977.

"An Asiarch was one of certain officers elected ... whose function consisted in celebrating, partly at their own expense, the public games and festivals" - p. 178, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W. E. Vine, Nelson Publishers, 1983 printing.

"[Asiarchs -] These officials were chosen on an annual basis to preside over games and theatrical displays." - p. 61, Today's Dictionary of the Bible, Bethany House Publishers, 1982.

DIAKONOS - Countess accuses the NWT of being "inconsistent" for rendering diakonos with the word "minister" (and various forms of "minister") in all but one of its uses ("servants" - Mt. 22:13). He also criticizes the NWT for translating the noun diakonos as though it were a participle ("those ministering") twice in Jn 2:5, 9. - p. 77.

But even the "most literal" modern Bible of Christendom, the NASB, translates diakonos three times as "deacons," seven times as "minister" and 19 times as "servant(s)"! How consistent is that?

As for translating a noun as though it were a participle, this is done in all translations (and in all other combinations of parts of speech) in order to make something as clear as possible to modern readers.

For example, the related diakonia is rendered in these various ways at Ro. 15:25 in these literal Bibles: "a ministry" [noun], NRSV; "to minister" [verb infinitive], KJV; "in the service" [noun], NIV; "aid" [noun], RSV; "ministering" [participle], ASV; "serving" [participle], NASB.

And this same word (diakonia) at 2 Tim. 1:18 is also rendered: "services" [plural noun], NASB; "service" [singular noun], RSV, NRSV; "ministered" [verb], KJV, ASV; "helped" [verb], NIV.

The real question should be: why does the NWT consistently render diakonos with some form of "minister" (with the single exception of Matt. 22:13) and doulos as "slave"? We can see that other literal Bibles frequently render both diakonos and doulos as "servant(s)" (cf. Acts 4:29 [doulos] and Jn 2:9 [diakonos] in KJV, ASV, RSV, NIV, for example).

The reason for the NWT rendering can undoubtedly be found in the actual meaning of the two NT Greek words. What is the difference between diakonos and doulos?

"diakonos represents the servant in his activity for the work; not in his relation, either servile, as that of the doulos, or more voluntary, as in the case of the therapon, to a person" - Thayer, p. 138 (#1249), Baker Book House.

"Diakonos is generally speaking, to be distinguished from doulos, ... diakonos views a servant in relationship to his work; doulos views him in relationship to his master." - p. 265, W. E. Vine, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, 1983 printing.

"The difference between [diakonos] and doulos (slave), is important for our understanding of diakonos. doulos stresses almost exclusively the Christian's complete subjection to the Lord; diakonos is concerned with his service for the church" - p. 548, Vol. 3, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan Publ., 1986.

So, if you were to translate diakonos and doulos correctly, you would try to choose words that at least suggested the difference between them. The translators of the NWT obviously decided that "minister" (for diakonos) suggested the idea of service and emphasized that person's work or activity rather than his subjection. And, of course, they decided that the term "slave" (for doulos) emphasized his subjection (or "relationship to his master") more than his relationship to his work. Most objective people would readily agree.

The NWT has attempted to distinguish between the uses of diakonos and doulos in such a way as to honestly show the originally intended meanings. It has done this more consistently than other literal translations. Countess' criticism of this is unfair and hypocritical.

MONOGENES - It is certainly understandable that many trinitarians will do their utmost to avoid the Biblical references to the creation of Jesus by God before the earth was created. Many modern trinitarian Bibles have therefore "retranslated" such NT words as "Firstborn," "Beginning" (of God's Creation), and, as here, "only begotten" (monogenes). This word which Countess wants to mean "only, unique" is literally from either monos, (alone, solitary) and genos, (offspring) - W. E. Vine, p. 811, or from monos (alone) and ginomai (to come into being) - pp. 1667 and 1640, New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, #3439, 3441, 1096. It literally means "onlyborn" or "onlybegotten" and is used with this sense no matter how it is translated!

Generally acclaimed as the most literally accurate translations of the 20th century, the ASV (1901) and NASB (including my 1963 edition of the NASB [NT] and my 1975 edition of the complete NASB Bible) both translate monogenes as "onlybegotten"! Even Baptist NT Greek expert A. T. Robertson agrees: "Monogenes (only born)" - p. 13, Vol. 5, Word Pictures, Broadman Press, 1960.

Noted trinitarian New Testament Greek scholar, Dr. Alfred Marshall also agrees that monogenes literally means "only begotten." - see John 3:16 in The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1975.

So for Countess to insist on "only" as the only proper translation of monogenes, and to condemn the NWT for "onlybegotten" is certainly specious to say the least. - p. 77-80. (See OBGOD study paper for evidence that monogenes is applied only to created things and is more properly rendered as "onlybegotten" or "onlyborn").

Furthermore, his claim that many modern trinitarian Bibles have begun rendering monogenes as "only" is true enough, but his claim that the most literal trinitarian Bible of all, the NASB [NT], does so also is inexcusable!

How could such an obvious and easily disproved statement have "accidentally" remained through all the careful editing, revisions, etc. that have been done on this "Critical Analysis" since 1966 ?

KOLASIS - See the study paper NWT.

PSYCHE - psyche is the NT Greek word sometimes translated "soul" in English Bibles. It is used as the equivalent of the OT Hebrew nephesh. Countess, along with many members of Christendom, has accepted the ancient Greek pagan philosophy meaning of this word, insisting that it refers to some invisible, conscious, immortal, ghost-like entity within a body which is released at death and then either goes to heaven to live in bliss or to "hell" to be excruciatingly tormented for all eternity! This "immortal soul" doctrine began to be accepted into Christendom around the time that the equally unscriptural (but equally important to influential pagans of the time) Trinity doctrine was being introduced.

"Among the ancient Hebrews soul was the equivalent of the principle of life as embodied in living creatures, and this meaning is continued throughout the Bible..... It was Augustine [circa 400 A.D.] especially who, in part on religious grounds and in part as the disciple of later Greek philosophy, taught the simple, immaterial, and spiritual nature of the human soul - a view which has remained that of ... Christian theologians down to the present time." - p. 7894, Vol. 21, The Universal Standard Encyclopedia, 1956.

"The Hebrew term for `soul' (nefesh), that which breathes, was used by Moses ..., signifying an `animated being' and applicable equally to nonhuman beings.... New Testament usage of psyche (`soul') was comparable to nefesh." - p. 152, Vol. 15, The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Macropaedia.

Even the ancient pagan Greeks themselves used the word psyche, which literally means "breath," with many meanings. For example in ancient Greek it could mean: life, things dear as life, heart, appetite, and understanding. - p. 903, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Liddell and Scott, Oxford University Press, 1994 printing.

And the most-respected of Christendom's authorities themselves admit these many meanings for psyche in the NT scriptures:

"1. breath (Lat. anima), i.e. a. the breath of life; the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing: Acts xx. 10; of animals, Rev. viii. 9 ....b. life ... Mt. vi.25; Lk. xii. 22... Jn x.11,15,17; xiii.37 sq.; xv.13; 1 Jn. iii.16; [etc.] .... c. that in which there is life; a living being: psyche zosa, a living soul, 1 Cor. xv.45 ["Adam became a living soul" - NASB] .... [etc.]" - p. 677 (#5590), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, J. H. Thayer, Baker Book House, 1984 printing.

"SOUL. 1. The usual Hebrew word [nephesh] ... occurs 755 times in the OT. As is clear from Gn 2:7, the primary meaning is `possessing life'. Thus it is frequently used of animals (Gn. 1:20, 24, 30; 9:12, 15-16; Ezk. 47:9). Sometimes it is identified with the blood, as something which is essential to physical existence (Gn. 9:4; Lv. 17:10-14; Dt. 12:22-24). .... the seat of physical appetite ... source of emotion .... 2. Gk. psyche, the corresponding term to nephesh in the NT..." - p. 1135, New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., Tyndale House Publishers, 1982.

In discussing the OT Hebrew word for "soul" (nephesh), The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology says:

"So too living creatures can be described as souls: everything that lives, all living things .... A clear indication of how unfamiliar the OT is with the concept of a soul separate from the body, or a soul which becomes separated from the body at death, is the fact that it can speak of a dead person as the soul of that person, and mean by this phrase the dead person in his corporeality [the actual dead body!] (Num. 6:6)." - p. 680, Vol. 3.

This same highly-respected work of Christendom also says of the NT term for 'soul':

"psyche embraces the whole natural being and life of man for which he concerns himself and of which he takes constant care. Thus Matt. 6:25 speaks of being anxious for the psyche, i.e. for its food. Life (psyche) and body (soma) are God's handiwork: therefore they are of more importance than the food and clothing about which man is so concerned. At Lk. 12:19 the rich man addresses his soul, i.e. he speaks to himself. However, he does not bargain with the fact that his psyche, i.e. his life, can be taken from him at any moment. .... psyche [also] means the inner life of man, equivalent to the ego, person, or personality... In 2 Cor. 1:23 Paul pledges his `soul' in a kind of curse upon himself, as a form of solemn asseveration. The reference here is not only to the life, but to the whole man, with all that he believes, hopes and strives for. .... Although the Hellenistic term psyche appears more frequently in the later epistles of the NT than in other parts ..., it must not be imagined that this implies the concept of the soul as the real and valuable part of man, the eternal and permanent element [as in the pagan-originated "immortal soul" doctrine]. That would be a misunderstanding.... This is just what the NT does not teach" - pp. 683, 686, Vol. 3, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Zondervan Publishing House, 1986.

Even "immortal soul" and "eternal torment" proponent W. E. Vine admits that the meanings for psyche include life, the seat of personality, the seat of will and purpose, the seat of appetite, persons, animate creatures, human or other, and is even applied to animals and dead bodies. - p. 1067, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1983 printing.

And yes, that most literal of modern trinitarian Bibles, the NASB, actually translates psyche as heart, heartily, life (more often than any other meaning), mind, person, soul, etc.
(For more quotes from other sources, see pp. 377, 379 in Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1989 printing.)

The word psyche is used so often (and with so many different meanings) in the New Testament that it is not difficult for someone to find a few scriptures that could be interpreted in the way that "eternal soul" devotees would like. However, even Countess finds only two "which clearly contradict the view enunciated by NWT that man is soul." These are Matt. 10:28 and Rev. 6:9-10. - p. 82. (Actually, the NWT translators acknowledge the fact that "soul" or psyche has several different meanings which include the person (or animal) himself, and life itself. And all those who are baptized as JWs have been taught this fact also.)

Countess would have us believe that there can be no other interpretation of Matt. 10:28 other than proof for an "immortal soul" that survives the death of the body:

"Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul [psyche]; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul [psyche] and body in Gehenna."

But consider: What does it mean to say a man can kill your body but not your psyche ["person" or "life"]?

Any man can kill you. Afterward he may even completely burn up your body or allow it to decompose to nothingness. That particular body will never return even in the resurrection. The person himself, however, may, if God wills it, be resurrected in a new, better, fleshly body or even in a perfect spirit body. No one but God alone, however, can cause that person or life to be restored.

Therefore, the human murderer can cause you to lose your life temporarily and your body to disappear forever, but he cannot destroy your life forever. He can permanently "kill your body, but is unable to kill your `person' or `life'." God, however, is to be feared much more than the human murderer, because He can permanently destroy both your body and your `person' or `life' (psyche) in that special "grave" which is reserved for those who will not be resurrected ("Gehenna" - - see HELL study).

As proof of this interpretation, we can see that an immortal "soul" could not be destroyed. However, this scripture says God can destroy it in "Hell" (Gehenna). Furthermore, we know that the traditional (but unscriptural) concept of "Hell" does not allow for the body to enter into it. But God will also destroy the body in Gehenna ("Hell" in most translations) according to this same scripture!

Obviously the body in this scripture is in the grave where it will be completely annihilated and from which the person himself (or his life) will never be resurrected. His life permanently ends in this grave - not in a "fiery hell"!

The only other scripture Countess can find to "disprove" the JW's is found at Rev. 6:9-10:

"And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls [psyche - plural form] of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, `How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'" - NASB.

Of course if you, like Countess (apparently), insist that this must be taken absolutely literally, then you may have a case. (Remember, however, that psyche can mean `lives,' `persons,' even dead bodies.) If this vision is recording a literally accurate event, then we see "souls" of dead people speaking to God. Reasonable Bible students, however, realize that the Bible (and the Book of Revelation in particular) often uses symbolism and figurative usage.

Why, at Gen. 4:10-11, for example, God says to Cain, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand." Obviously we should not take this literally. Abel's blood did not have a literal voice and did not literally cry out. (And the ground doesn't consciously open its mouth - - and, of course, doesn't even have a literal mouth.) This is figurative language indicating that God knows that Cain killed his brother and that Abel was terribly wronged by having his life taken from him and must be avenged! There must be justice! "Blood" here is not figurative of some mysterious ghost-like person speaking from the ground. It figuratively represents Abel's life which has been taken away by Cain.

Now notice how Jehovah's Witnesses have analyzed Rev. 6:9, 10:

After quoting Rev. 6:9, the study book, REVELATION - Its Grand Climax at Hand! tells us:

"What is that? A sacrificial altar up in heaven? Yes! It is the first time that John mentions an altar. Already, though, he has described Jehovah on His throne, the surrounding cherubs, the glassy sea, the lamps and the 24 elders carrying incense - all of these resembling features of the earthly tabernacle, Jehovah's sanctuary in Israel. (Exodus 25:17, 18; 40:24-27, 30-32; 1 Chron-icles 23:4) Should it, then, surprise us to find a symbolic altar of sacrifice also in heaven? - Exodus 40:29.

"Underneath this altar are `the souls of those slaughtered because of the word of God and because of the witness work that they used to have.' What does this mean? These could not be disembodied souls - like those believed in by the pagan Greeks. (Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 18:4) Rather, John knows that the soul, or life, is symbolized by the blood, and when the priests at the ancient Jewish tabernacle slaughtered a sacrificial animal, they sprinkled the blood `round about upon the altar' or poured it `at the base of the altar of burnt offering.' (Leviticus 3:2, 8, 13; 4:7; 17:6, 11, 12) Hence, the animal's soul [or life which was poured out at the base of the altar] was closely identified with the altar of sacrifice. But why would the souls, or blood, of these particular servants of God be seen underneath a symbolic altar in heaven? Because their deaths are viewed as sacrificial.

"Indeed, all those who are begotten as spirit sons of God die a sacrificial death in behalf of Jehovah's sovereignty. (Philippians 3:8-11; compare 2:17) This is true in a very real sense of those whom John saw under the altar. They are anointed ones who in their day were martyred for their zealous ministry in upholding Jehovah's Word and sovereignty....

"The scenario continues to unfold: `And they cried with a loud voice, saying: "Until when, Sovereign Lord holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?"' (Revelation 6:10) How can their souls, or blood, cry out for vengeance, since the Bible shows that the dead are unconscious? (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Well, did not righteous Abel's blood cry out after Cain murdered him? Jehovah then said to Cain: ... `Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground.' (Genesis 4:10, 11; Hebrews 12:24) It was not that Abel's blood was literally uttering words. Rather, Abel had died as an innocent victim, and justice called out for his murderer to be punished. Similarly, those Christian martyrs are innocent, and in justice they must be avenged. (Luke 18:7, 8) The cry for vengeance is loud because many thousands have thus died. - Compare Jeremiah 15:15, 16." - pp. 100-101, Revelation - Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988.

But it isn't just Jehovah's Witnesses who interpret Rev. 6:9, 10 this way. The popular New Testament scholar and author, William Barclay writes concerning this scripture:

"The souls of those who had been slain were there beneath the altar. That picture is taken directly from the sacrificial ritual of the Temple. For a Jew the most sacred part of any sacrifice was the blood; the blood was regarded as being the life and the life belonged to God (Leviticus 17:11-14). Because of that, there were special regulations for the offering of blood.

"`The rest of the blood of the bull the priest shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering' (Leviticus 4:7). That is to say, the blood is offered at the foot of the altar.

"This gives us the meaning of our passage here [Rev. 6:9, 10]. The souls of the martyrs are beneath the altar. That is to say, their life-blood has been poured out as an offering to God. .... But every life laid down for right and truth and God is ultimately ... an offering to God." - pp. 10-11, The Revelation of John, Revised Ed., Vol. 2, The Daily Study Bible Series, The Westminster Press, 1976.

Even noted Baptist scholar A. T. Robertson agrees here:

"[Rev. 6:]9. Under the altar (hupokato tou thusiasteriou). "Under" (hupokato), for the blood of the sacrifices was poured at the bottom of the altar (Lev 4:7). The altar of sacrifice (Ex. 39:39; 40:29), not of incense. The imagery, as in Hebrews, is from the tabernacle. .... This altar in heaven is symbolic, of course, the antitype for the tabernacle altar (Heb. 8:5). The Lamb was slain (5:6, 9, 12) and these martyrs have followed the example of their Lord. The souls (tas psuchas). The lives, for the life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11), were given for Christ (Phil. 2:17; II Tim. 4:6)." - p. 343, Vol. 6, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman Press, Copyright 1960, Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The JW's interpretation of these two scriptures is certainly more correct than Countess' God-defaming interpretation that God has created all men with a conscious, immortal "soul" that will, for most of them, be conscious and aware of an excruciating torture for all eternity!

One last scripture to examine for its use of psyche:

This is the literal word-for-word translation of the NT Greek of the latter part of Luke 6:9 -

"If it is lawful to the sabbath to do good or to do bad, soul [psyche] to save or to destroy?"

Here is a translation as found in one modern literal Bible:

"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbaths, or to do ill? to save a soul [psyche] or to destroy it?" - Luke 6:9, KJIIV.

Here is the NWT rendering of the same scripture:

"Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do injury, to save or to destroy a soul [psyche]?"

Jesus is reasoning on the scriptures here. He has been accused by the Pharisees (who were looking for a reason to have him "legally" killed) of breaking the law of God because his disciples were doing "work" (plucking grain and eating it) on the sabbath. In reply Jesus asks if, according to the Law of God, it is not lawful to do certain good things on the sabbath. The answer, of course is yes. Some of these things include certain good works and the saving of a soul (life). He contrasts the doing of these legal things on the sabbath with the terrible things the Pharisees themselves are plotting to do on this sabbath: to do injury (to Jesus) and to destroy a soul [psyche] by having Jesus killed!

Now if the Pharisees are able to destroy a soul, then a "soul" (psyche) is not immortal (even when it is Jesus' soul)! To avoid this obvious (and proper) understanding nearly all "literal" Bibles of "traditional" Christendom translate psyche here as "life":

"to save LIFE [psyche] or to destroy it?" - KJV.

"LIFE [psyche] to save or to kill? - Young's Literal Translation.

"to save LIFE [psyche] or to destroy it?" - RSV.

"to save LIFE [psyche] or to destroy it?" - NRSV.

"to save a LIFE [psyche], or to destroy it?" - ASV.

"to save a LIFE [psyche], or to destroy it?" - NASB.

We certainly don't hear Countess complaining about the inconsistent translation (or paraphrasing) of the word psyche in these most literal of modern translations, do we?

Nevertheless, what we have been discussing is an interpretation of certain scriptures. Countess is supposedly criticizing the translations of scripture as found in the New World Translation! But where is any criticism of the NWT's translation of psyche in Countess' diatribe concerning the use of this word? In fact, there is no significant difference between the NWT and most other translations of the verses in question.

And the NWT is far more consistent than any other translation in rendering all instances of psyche as "soul" (and two times as "whole-souled - Eph. 6:6; Col. 3:23)! For example, in every instance where the much-praised literal Bible the NASB renders psyche as "everyone," "heart," "heartily," "mind(s)," and "person(s)," the NWT renders it "soul(s)" (and two times as "whole-souled). And in each of the 43 instances where the "super-literal" NASB translates psyche as "life/lives" the NWT translates it "soul(s)"!

TASSO - Countess objects to the NWT rendering of this verb in Acts 13:48 ("all those who were rightly disposed [tasso] for everlasting life became believers") because he does not like to see a standard "proof" for pre-destination being countered. - p. 84. You see, if the meaning of tasso that Countess (and most other Pre-Destinarians) insists on here is "appointed" (or its equivalent), then this verse seems to say that God (or somebody) has pre-determined that these specific individuals are to be saved! This is a terrible accusation to make about the God of Love! To say that He has determined exactly who will be saved (and who will exist in "eternal torment") before they are even born is, in effect, to call God the most cruel person ever.

But tasso has a number of meanings including:

"esp. to draw up in order of battle, to form, array, marshal .... to fall in, form in order .... also generally, to agree upon, settle" - Liddell and Scott, p. 793, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford, 1994 printing.

Notice what highly respected (by Christendom) New Testament language scholar A. T. Robertson says about Acts 13:48 and tasso:

"Periphrastic past perfect passive indicative of tasso, a military term to place in orderly arrangement. .... The Jews here had voluntarily rejected the word of God. On the other side were those Gentiles who gladly accepted what the Jews had rejected, not all the Gentiles. Why these Gentiles here ranged themselves [placed themselves in orderly arrangement; put themselves in line] on God's side as opposed to the Jews Luke does not tell us. This verse does not solve the vexed problem of divine sovereignty and human free agency. There is no evidence that Luke had in mind an absolutum decretum of personal salvation. Certainly the Spirit of God does move upon the human heart to which some respond, as here, while others push him away." - p. 200, Vol. 3, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Broadman press.

Although the Living Bible is a paraphrase Bible, its translators still show their understanding of the word tasso by this translation: "and as many as wanted [tasso] eternal life, believed." A footnote for "wanted" says: "Or, `were disposed to,' or `ordained to.'" - Tyndale House Publishers, 1971.

Noted NT Greek expert and author, Dr. Alfred Marshall, literally translated tasso at Acts 13:48 as
"as many as were having been disposed [tasso] to life eternal" - The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, p. 389, Zondervan Publishing, 1975.

And Adam Clarke wrote:

"[Acts 13,] Verse 48. As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.— This text has been most pitifully misunderstood. Many suppose that it simply means that those in that assembly who were fore-ordained; or predestinated by God's decree, to eternal life, believed under the influence of that decree. Now, we should be careful to examine what a word means, before we attempt to fix its meaning. Whatever Tetagmenoi may mean, which is the word we translate `ordained,' it is neither protetagmenoi nor proorismenoi which the apostle uses, but simply tetagmenoi, which includes no idea of pre-ordination or pre-destination of any kind. And if it even did, it would be rather hazardous to say that all those who believed at this time were such as actually persevered unto the end, and were saved unto eternal life. But, leaving all these precarious matters, what does the word tetagmenos mean? The verb tattw or tassw [tasso] signifies to place, set, order, appoint, dispose; hence it has been considered here as implying the disposition or readiness of mind of several persons in the congregation, such as the religious proselytes mentioned in Acts 13:43, who possessed the reverse of the disposition of those Jews who spake against those things, contradicting and blaspheming, Acts 13:45." - Adam Clarke's Commentary, pp. 597-598, Vol. 5B.

I have been told that the Full Life Study Bible also says about tasso in Acts 13:48:

"Some [such as Countess and his publishers] have understood this verse as teaching arbitrary predestination. However, neither the context nor the word translated `ordained' (Greek tetagmenoi from tasso) warrant this interpretation." Furthermore, it says Acts 13:48

"explicitly emphasizes human responsibility in accepting or rejecting eternal life. The best rendering of tetagmenoi [tasso], therefore, is `were disposed.' `and as many as were disposed to eternal life believed.'" [material in brackets has been added by me, as usual - RDB.]

God has predetermined that certain classes of individuals will receive eternal life or eternal death (e.g., those obeying his laws, those believing and obeying his Son, etc. will receive eternal life; those not obeying his laws, those not believing and obeying his Son, those who are liars, idolaters, etc. will not receive eternal life). But He has obviously not predetermined exactly which individuals will be in these predetermined classes!

Consider:
It would be senseless for Jesus to exhort men to walk on the difficult road that leads to life and avoid the broad easy road that leads to destruction (Mt. 7:13, 14) if their fate were already determined and they could do nothing about it anyway!

And the Lord (or Peter) would be hypocritical if God had already predetermined who perishes and who lives eternally when he said that he did not want anyone to perish but wants everyone to come to repentance! (2 Peter 3:9) What difference would it make for anyone whom God had already predetermined to eternal torment to "come to repentance"? And how could God "not want anyone to perish" and not be able to accomplish it? If he truly didn't want anyone to perish, the all-powerful God would provide everyone an equal opportunity to receive eternal life! (And He has!)

And the Apostle John would be cruelly misleading us (if he really believed God had already predetermined which individuals will live eternally) when he said: "The man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:17, NIV). Obviously, if God had already decided before you were born that you will not be saved, it wouldn't matter if you did God's will perfectly or not at all!

In the same way, Jesus would be very cruel (and dishonest) in his answer to the man who asked "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus quoted to him the two greatest commandments and said to the man, "Do this, and you will live." Again, if God had already predetermined those who live eternally and those who "eternally roast in hell," it would be senseless to ask "what shall I do to inherit eternal life" and equally senseless to tell the man what he should do to receive eternal life!

And why would Jesus tell anyone, "be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" - Rev. 2:10, NASB. According to the pre-destination idea it was already decided before you were born!

In fact, there are so many scriptures throughout the Bible showing the falsity of the pre-destination doctrine that it is inexcusable for anyone to teach such a God-defaming pagan doctrine!

STAUROS - Countess objects to stauros being translated as "torture stake" in the NWT as opposed to the traditional "cross." - pp. 85-87. But look at this statement by one of Christendom's favorite NT Greek experts:

"STAUROS ... denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross. The shape of the latter [the cross] had its origin in ancient Chaldea [Babylon], and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ." - W. E. Vine, p. 248, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers. - Also see "Cross" in Reasoning from the Scriptures and "Torture Stake" in Insight on the Scriptures (Watchtower publications).

* * * *

The fact that Jesus (and even faithful prophets, kings, judges, and angels) can be (and were) called "gods" by the inspired Bible writers in no way makes those Bible writers "polytheistic" as Countess, in effect, claims! The term in those days merely meant someone who was considered by God's people to be a "mighty person" in some respect. It did not necessarily imply an equality with or a challenger to the Most High God! The fact that the term has come to mean only "false gods" today has nothing to do with the meaning as used by the ancient inspired Bible writers, and Countess and most Bible scholars know this fact very well! (E.g., see Ps. 82:1, 6 and John 10:33 footnotes in the NIV Study Bible; Ps. 8:6; Ps. 45:7; and John 10:34 footnotes in the New American Bible, St. Joseph ed., 1970; and pp. 1133, 1134 in the New Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House, 1982. Also see the TRUE and BOWGOD studies.)

It is completely untrue to say, as do some trinitarians, that the words for "god" or "gods" in scripture are applied only to either the one true God or false gods (p. 44, Countess). To also say that the NWT is guilty of promoting polytheism because it has rendered "a god" at Jn 1:1 (as Countess tells us on pp. 45, 58, 90) is incredibly dishonest!

What Countess has done is play on the ignorance of the vast majority of Christendom. He distorts and lies about what Jehovah's Witnesses have said and taught. He lies and distorts what knowledgeable NT scholars know about the actual language used by the inspired NT writers. All this is done in a manner that seems scholarly and proper to those who have little knowledge of the NT grammar and principles involved. Not only is this writer in extremely grave danger when God's judgment arrives (Rev. 21:8; 22:15), but so are the many trinitarian scholars, pastors, churches, etc. who should know better but still promote his dishonest work (and others like it)!

There is one common uniting bond among those who claim to have basic scholarly knowledge of the Bible languages (including those whose backgrounds really do attest to such knowledge) and who write popular books defending the Trinity doctrine and attacking the JWs on this knowledge: deceit.

It comes in all forms, e.g., distortion, dishonesty, and outright lies. This includes such admired trinity-defenders as Dr. Walter Martin (Baptist minister and "anti-cult expert" - Kingdom of the Cults and many others), Robert M. Bowman (Martin's successor - Why You Should Believe in the Trinity, Baker Book House, 1993 and others), Prof. Arthur M. Bowser (Born-Again minister and college professor - What Every Jehovah's Witness Should Know), Robert H. Countess (Ph.D. in New Testament Text, Presbyterian Minister, Congregational Church minister, college professor and instructor in NT Greek - The Jehovah's Witnesses' New Testament), and others. - See the following study papers: MINOR (pp. 7-16); I AM (pp. 9-11); NWT (pp. 6-19); MARTIN; BOWGOD; BOWHS; BOWQT; BWF (footnote #1); I AM (footnotes #1, 2); HEB (f.n. #1); MINOR (p. 20); and NWT-B (this paper).

There are two important points to consider concerning the common, uniting bonds of dishonesty and lies found in most (if not all) popular books defending the trinity.

(1) An American should strongly resent this disavowal of the American tradition of truth and fair play.

Even more important, a Christian must detest willing liars who purposely defame others and knowingly distort God's word (Jn 4:24; Eph. 4:25; 5:6-11; Rev. 21:8, 27; 22:15; Rev. 14:5 [the NIVSB footnote says: "14:5 No lie. Contrast Ro 1:25; see Isa 53:9."]; 2 Thess. 1:8-9; 2:9-13; Ex. 20:16; Prov. 6:16-19; 19:5; Is. 28:15-18). Just who is following the guidance of the Spirit of Truth concerning the knowledge of God? (Jn 16:13) Popular trinitarian defenders like Countess - - or JW's?

True Christians: "In fact, in everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God. .... We have been truthful ... We stand true to the Lord whether others honor us or despise, whether they criticize us or commend us. We are honest, but they call us liars. The world ignores us, but we are known to God" - 2 Cor. 6:4, 7, 8, 9, Living Bible. "Enter in through the narrow gate.... small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it." - Matt. 7:13, 14, New International Version.

False Christians: "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." - "Not every one who says to me [Jesus], `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy [NIVSB footnote: "7:22 prophesy. In the NT this verb primarily means to give a message from God, not necessarily to predict." This includes, of course proclaiming the truth of the scriptures, God's inspired message.] in your name...and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" - Matt. 7:13, 21-23, The NIV Study Bible.

"But the...idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second [final, everlasting] death." - "One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls....showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. .... Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful .... Outside are the ... idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." Aren't those who promote, support, and teach the "knowledge" of those popular trinitarian teachers such as Countess actually ones who practice falsehood? - Rev. 21:8,9,10,27; 22:15, NIV.

It is imperative that everyone who loves God and desires salvation very carefully examine both sides of this issue. This cannot be done by trusting Countess, Bowman, Martin, etc. to truthfully, honestly, wholly reveal both sides!

(2) IF the trinity doctrine is true (and JW's are wrong), why would anyone (especially a Christian) have to lie about its "proofs"?? Think very carefully about this. There simply is no clear, undisputed evidence to support the trinity doctrine. All "evidence" is either ambiguous (also capable of a more probable non-trinitarian interpretation) or outright lies disputed by even other (usually more reputable) trinitarian scholars. This could not be if this extremely important knowledge of God and Christ were true! (Jn 17:1, 3; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9)

Note: Although Watchtower Society (WTS) research and scholarship is usually at least the equal of (and often superior to) that of other sources, I have tried to rely most heavily on other sources in Christendom itself (preferably trinitarian) or my own independent research and conclusions to provide evidence disproving the trinitarian `proof' being examined in this paper. The reason is, of course, that this paper is meant to provide evidence needed by non-Witnesses, and many of them will not accept anything written by the WTS. They truly believe it is false, even dishonest. Therefore some of the preceding information, all of which helps disprove specific trinitarian "proofs," may be in disagreement with current WTS teachings in some specifics (especially when I have presented a number of alternates). Jehovah's Witnesses should research the most recent WTS literature on the subject or scripture in question before using this information with others. – RDB.

.................................................................

NOTES

1. The Bible abbreviations used in this paper are as follows:

AB: Amplified Bible ......................... NAB (1970): New American Bible 1970
ASV: American Standard Version.... NAB (1991): New American Bible 1991
AT: An American Translation ..........NASB: New American Standard Bible
CBW: C.B.Williams' translation ...... NEB: New English Bible
ETRV: Easy to Read Version ...........NIV: New International Version
GNB: Good News Bible ...................NJB: New Jerusalem Bible
JB: Jerusalem Bible........................ NKJV: New King James Version
KJV: King James Version............... NRSV: New Revised Standard Version
KJIIV: King James II Version........ NWT: New World Translation
MKJV: Modern King James Version... REB: Revised English Bible
MLB: Modern Language Bible........ RSV: Revised Standard Version


2. BeDuhn claims that 2 Thess 1:9 is a quote from Isaiah 2:21.

2 Thess 1:9 - "These very ones will undergo the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction from before the lord and from the glory of his strength" – NWT.

2 Thess. 1:9 - ... apo proswpou tou kuriou kai apo thV doxhV thV iscuoV autou

Is. 2:21 - ….Before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. – NASB.

Is. 2:21 - … apo proswpou tou fobou kuriou kai apo thV dochV thV iscuoV autou .... Septuagint.

There are a number of respected trinitarian translators who have indicated that 2 Thess 1:9 does not quote from Is. 2:21 nor intend that "Jehovah" was meant by Paul to be understood there. (Also the UBS' NT text, 3rd ed., 1975, which uses bold type to indicate a quote from the OT, does not use bold type for 2 Thess 1:9.)

2 Thess 1:9 is not indicated as a quote from the OT in NASB; NRSV; RSV; ASV; NAB (`70); NAB (`91); MLB; NIV; NKJV; AT (Smith – Goodspeed); etc.

Let's also consider the Hebrew translations of the NT by highly trinitarian scholars (noted Lutheran scholar Franz Delitzsch's Hebrew New Testament, The Trinitarian Bible Society, London, 1981, and the trinitarian translators and publishers of the United Bible Societies' Hebrew New Testament, 1983). At 1 Pet. 1:25 both translations have rendered the "Lord" (kurios) of the NT Greek text into the Hebrew "Jehovah" (Yhwh in Hebrew), not "Lord" (adon)!

(All the above trinitarian Bibles - NKJV; RSV; NIV; NASB, etc. - agree that 1 Pet. 1:25, for example, truly is a quote from Is. 40:8 where "Jehovah" was used in the original manuscripts. The NKJV, which actually renders "Jehovah" from OT quotes in the NT as "LORD," not "Lord," renders this as "But the word of the LORD endures forever.'" And the NWT renders it as "…. but the saying of Jehovah endures forever.'")

But at the verse in question, 2 Thess 1:9, both Hebrew New Testaments have rendered the "Lord" of NT Greek as ha adon ("the Lord") rather than the name of God, Yhwh! Clearly, these highly respected trinitarian scholars did not believe 2 Thess 1:9 was a quote from the OT (as they did for 1 Pet. 1:25) nor that "Jehovah" was intended there!

Furthermore, the NKJV, which uses LORD when quoting portions of the OT which include God's name, has at 2 Thess 1:9, "…. From the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power." And the NWT also has "from before the Lord and from the glory of his strength."

3. Although it was the most certain determinant, the NWT translators did not restrict themselves entirely to exact quotes of specific OT verses when they restored the Divine Name to the NT. They admitted that they took into consideration the context of the NT itself (especially if it included a common description or popular phrase frequently found also in the OT which normally included God's personal name) whether or not to restore the name `Jehovah.' But it was extremely rare that there weren't Hebrew translations of the NT (usually by trinitarian translators) which had used "Jehovah" at that same place and, therefore, reinforced their decision. These Hebrew translations are listed in the 1951 ed. of the NWT on pp. 30-33 and 1984 NWT Reference Bible on pp. 9-10.

4. (Of course these methods of translating hold true in the Old Testament as well. For example, the literal word-for-word rendering of the original Hebrew of Ps. 31:9 (or 31:10) is:

"Favor me O Jehovah for trouble I am in has wasted away with grief my eye, my
soul, and my belly." - The Interlinear Bible, Baker Book House, 1982.

[The Hebrew word which was translated "trouble" here by the Interlinear Bible is tsarar which literally means "to bind, tie up, be restricted, narrow, scant, or cramped" - #6887a - New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. And "grief" here in the Interlinear Bible is kaas which literally means: "VEXATION, anger", #3708a, New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; compare Strong's Concordance.]

This has been rendered as:

"Show me favor, O Jehovah, for I am in sore straits. With vexation my eye has become weak, my soul and my belly." - NWT.

And,

"Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief,
my soul and my body also." - NASB.

And,

"O Lord, have mercy on me in my anguish. My eyes are red from weeping; my
health is broken from sorrow." - Living Bible. )

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